Speaking this morning at the Launch of Sinn Féin’s proposals to reform the Policing system Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams TD said:
“Following decades of partisan and bad policing in the north a new beginning to policing emerged out of the Good Friday Agreement.
“Sinn Féin’s proposals for the fundamental reform of An Garda Siochána and the administration of justice are based on best practise agreed through the Patten Commission and incorporated within the reformed justice and policing system in the north.
“Our proposals are about restoring confidence in An Garda Siochána.
“This has been severely undermined recently as a result of a series of scandals, including deep-rooted and systemic deficiencies within senior levels of An Garda Síochána the Department of Justice and Equality.
“The chronic failure until recently of An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Fine Gael/Labour government to properly respond speedily and effectively to these matters has been alarming.
“There is widespread public support for rank and file Gardaí.
“The vast majority of Gardaí are good, public-minded, patriotic men and women who do their job well but who have been failed by senior management and successive governments.
“Citizens were promised real reform and a different way of doing things by this Fine Gael/Labour government.
“Yet citizens see before them an unchanged culture of cronyism from banking, to the charity sector, health, policing and the administration of justice.
“While Labour and Fine Gael have been resistant toward proposals to establish and independent Garda authority or increased powers for the Garda Ombudsman, Sinn Féin welcomes the belated conversion of the government to these reforms.
“We believe that a major step change is now required in order to restore public confidence and bring about the radical reform citizens have a right to expect.
“We believe that a new beginning to policing similar to that of the Patten Report can deliver an open and transparent policing service, which is accountable for its actions to both a new independent policing authority and also to the communities which it serves.
“We will present our comprehensive reform proposals to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and the new Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald TD for consideration.”
Note to editor:
Our proposals include:
•A New Independent Garda Authority with responsibility for determining the priorities of An Garda Síochána.
•The Authority should hold the Garda Commissioner to account and the Commissioner should keep the Authority fully briefed on relevant matters.
•The Authority should also have the power to remove the Garda Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner and the Assistant Garda Commissioner.
•Serving officers of An Garda Síochána should not be seconded to GSOC, i.e. Gardaí should not be investigating fellow Gardaí.
•GSOC should have additional powers including the power of investigation in respect of the work of the Garda Commissioner.
Sinn Fein advocates the broadening of the role of the Garda Inspectorate to that of a new Criminal Justice Inspectorate.
•Policing and Justice to be an area of co-operation under the NSMC.
•Consideration be given to identifying and delivering aspects of the policing and justice system through a dedicated All-Ireland body which may include an All-Ireland sex offenders register and vetting system, All-Ireland penalty points system and road safety promotion, All-Ireland training and personnel exchanges across policing and justice bodies, community safety, missing person and fraud
•Full co-operation between criminal justice and policing oversight bodies across Ireland including between police services and police oversight bodies including the offices of the Police Ombudsman.